Palestinians Fume as Europe Fails to Back BDS

Anger over lack of EU support for boycott, but evidence shows most Palestinians also oppose boycotting Israel

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Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief “peace” negotiator and current secretary-general of the PLO terrorist organization, lashed out this week over Europe’s failure to more substantially support efforts to boycott Israel.

Erekat penned an op-ed for Newsweek in which he asserted that the Palestinians were “astonished” by recent statements by European officials opposing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Palestinian official was shocked that European leaders had recently praised Israel’s human rights record, tacitly approved the import of Jewish “settler” products, and, at least in the UK, taken steps to criminalize boycotts against Israel.

Erekat demanded that the EU issue fresh statements reversing these positions, and insisted that the Palestinians would no longer accept what he called empty expressions of support for the Palestinian cause.

But do the Palestinians, as Erekat claims, really support BDS? There’s plenty of evidence to suggest most of them don’t.

Last year, Israel Today interviewed for our print magazine a leading Palestinian human rights activist who told us that he is “opposed to the boycott because it only ends up harming the Palestinians themselves.”

A year earlier, a survey conducted by the Palestinian Authority’s own Consumer Protection Authority revealed that 70 percent of imports to the Palestinian Authority were Israeli products. So much for that boycott.

As reported by the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, most Palestinian consumers prefer Israeli products because they are cheaper than European imports, but of much higher quality than cheaper Arab imports.

In 2013, during a visit to South Africa, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas directly contradicted what Erekat is now saying by stating that the Palestinians “do not support the boycott of Israel.”

Abbas urged supporters of the Palestinians cause to boycott anything produced in the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), but was adamant that his regime was “not asking anyone to boycott Israel itself.”


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